The natural process of aging (called senescence) results in loss of cardiac, respiratory, muscular, skeletal, and hormonal function, which puts the person at risk for their daily tasks and increases their risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
One of the most notable negative changes that can occur with aging and that we should highlight is sarcopenia, which is the process of losing muscle mass that goes hand in hand with a decrease in muscle strength.
Contrary to popular belief, the loss of muscle mass and muscle strength causes a great deal of damage to the body beyond aesthetics, as research shows that sarcopenia increases the risk of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, acute myocardial infarction and stroke.
This is largely because our muscles (muscle mass) have a number of key physiological functions, such as myocene release, which are only proteins that act on various organs and tissues, such as the brain, heart, lungs, bones, kidneys. and blood vessels.
The reduction in muscle mass (sarcopenia) reduces the release of these myokines and, therefore, the physiological benefits that would be promoted in the important organs mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Due to the natural aging process, the fat in the abdomen region also increases, and high fat in this region is the main problem of obesity, as the fat in that region releases bad substances, inflammatory cytokines.
But all this physiological damage can be prevented and treated with a careful prescription of resistance training, which can be done through weight training.
Therefore, it is essential to maintain proper levels of muscle mass and muscle strength. And don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to be “strong” or “strong” to have these benefits, let alone train every day and for a long time in each workout.
Conversely, be aware that if you do resistance training for about 30 to 2 minutes per week, you may already have physiological adjustments, such as changes in the body that promote daily benefits. activities such as reducing the risk of mortality.
Scientific research conducted by researchers and colleagues in 2018, including 4,449 participants aged 50 years and older, also showed that low muscle strength was associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality.
Another study by Volaklis et al., Which examined the relationship between muscle strength and the risk of mortality in healthy people and patients.
The results showed that the level of muscle strength was associated with a decrease in the death rate of all causes, regardless of age, body fat, smoking, alcohol consumption or even cardiac respiratory rate.
In addition, higher levels of muscle strength were found to reduce mortality in people with cardiovascular disease, peripheral artery disease, cancer, kidney failure, chronic lung disease, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
It is important to note that the benefits of having adequate levels of muscle mass and muscle strength also occur in adolescents, as can be seen in the study by Ortega et al. is regardless of BMI or blood pressure.
The researchers also found that the strongest individuals were 20 to 30 percent less likely to die from suicide and 15 to 65 percent less likely to be diagnosed with a psychiatric illness such as schizophrenia and mood disorders.
In addition, when weight training is well prescribed, it also helps to combat depression and anxiety, and the aging process can lead to a number of physiological changes that can be a decisive factor in increasing the number of cases.
These physical and psychological changes seen in aging can be exacerbated in older women as a result of the biological effects of menopause, sexual roles, and social factors.
Therefore, it is necessary to take care of these people, but drug treatment is often not enough.
Therefore, functional and / or structural changes in the brain, positive changes in blood flow to the brain, neurotransmitter activity, and interventions that cause the functioning of the central nervous system may be key factors in treating and controlling depressive symptoms. and anxiety. And all this can be done through weight training.
A scientific study published by Cunha et al in 2021 showed this very well. The researchers randomly assigned 41-year-old women to a weight training or control group (no weight training). The workout was done three times a week for 12 weeks.
The results showed that weight training promoted the reduction of symptoms of depression and anxiety, regardless of age, muscle strength, and cognitive function, according to the Depression Scale, which included 15 aspects to consider.
This reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety caused by bodybuilding can be derived from a number of factors, such as reduced inflammatory cytokines, increased cognition (through various markers such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), as well as cognitive status). associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety in the elderly.
In addition to these factors, among others, the increased socialization that muscle can cause is closely linked to positive mental health.
So understand that resistance training, like weight training, should be a part of our lives, but even then you can say, “Oh, but I don’t like it”!
Okay, because you don’t have to like it, but understand the importance of it in your life, so don’t like it too much, after all, your life will be so much better.
* Raphael Carvalho in collaboration with USP (University of São Paulo) and Master of Science
With a PM et al. Resistance training reduces the symptoms of depression and anxiety in older women: a pilot study. Aging Mental Health. May 18, 2021; 1-7.
Li R et al. The association of muscle mass and strength with the death of all causes among US adults. Med Sci Sports Exercise March 2018; 50 (3): 458-467.
Ortega FB et al. Adolescent male muscle strength and premature death: a cohort study of one million participants. BMJ November 20, 2012; 345: e7279.
Volaklis KA et al. Muscle strength as a strong predictor of mortality: a narrative review. Eur J Intern Med. June 2015; 26 (5): 303-10.
Gylling AT et al. The effect of long strength training on muscle and fat in healthy, chronically older adults. Exp Gerontol. April 8, 2020: 110939.